Happy, but…

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Had a splendid summer! Enjoyed 98% of the time – and not alcohol of course, meds+alcohol=bad er visit. Learned that a couple of times already.

I’m back at work, have wonderful students, things are going great. I’m taking graduate courses besides already having a master’s (so there really is no purpose in taking them -except just having “something” to “do.” I do really well in my studies.

I do not have a boyfriend, but I don’t want one either. I don’t have much of a social life except hanging out with coworkers every so often on Friday’s and discussing hwk problems with classmates. I don’t mean to sound smartass, (I actually see myself as flatass), but yes, I do feel smarter than my other classmates, I can settle my arguments with my professors. Certainly, not all the time b/c I’m not Ms It Know It All, I too mess up with the tiniest things, I’m a math teacher, I like to give my kids confidence, so I question them if they are “certain” their answer is right – will sometimes say an error on purpose (or make an accidental mistake yet say it with confidence) – it’s nice to see them with the calculator, “yes ma’am, I’ve it on the calculator, look!”

I’ve history of Major Depression, Anxiety, Panic Disorder, history of suicidal thoughts, endangering myself, and I think I’m lucky enough to only have those, others actually have it Tough. My parents divorced about 3 years ago, that was hard, I was in really bad shape with my depression, to think I came back home around that time and whoop! tables turn, and well, that’s over in any case for I cannot fix that.

My counselor moved, and recommended someone else. He seems good, straight to the point. I think I’m easier to work with now though, I was really messed up / depressed.

Now, I always have something funny to say, can make people laugh, yes, sometimes I can be a little annoying for being “too funny.” I’m in a good mood most of the time, I only get “upset” when the students misbehave but otherwise I’m well behaved. Though I have noticed I get just a little down at night, only at night. I have these urges of just stopping everything ask myself why should I sleep? why should I live? what is the purpose? If someone else needs my organs, why not give them away now that I am healthy? I “feel” my heart starts pumping 50 times faster, and that’s when I think it’s a good idea to take my prescribed xanax. I take my Pristiq and Lamictal on a daily basis. Xanax only when I need it, and Fanapt to sleep.

I haven’t seen my new counselor, only the 1st introduction/questionaire/visit. I had a couple of reminders of when I left the PhD program, and just like a lot of Americans my family is suffering from job loss too. But those thoughts have been lingering for a little longer. I think I’m a little uneasy, and that work and school are the only things that get me to wake up something for. I can’t find something that will give me peace and happiness. Care for any thoughts Please?

A: Sure. You are asking big questions and you aren’t satisfied with easy answers. You didn’t say why you left your PhD program. I wonder if your bouts with anxiety and depression undermined your confidence. It looks like your response was to reduce your life to a spot where you’re comfortable – in an uncomfortable kind of way. It’s okay the way a lukewarm bath can be just, well, okay; not cold enough to wake you up and get you moving; not hot enough to be really satisfying.

When I read your letter, I hear a spirit that wants to get out and a mind that wants some challenges. I suggest you follow up and see that new therapist. Now that you are feeling a little better, you probably have the strength to do a little intellectual sparring. You no longer need therapy to dig you out of the hole. Now you can use therapy to help you make some new sense of yourself and to figure out how best to use the gifts you have. If you’ve got the right therapist for you, you will leave sessions feeling challenged, thoughtful and energized. It’s a different kind of rewarding than crisis work and often very gratifying.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 31 Oct 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Happy, but…. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/10/31/happy-but/